Counterproductive Work Behavior and Withdrawal

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Book Chapter

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counterproductive work behavior, withdrawal, employees, measurement, work environment, organizations


Counterproductive work behavior (CWB) is an umbrella term that refers to a wide range of acts conducted by employees that are harmful to organizations and their stakeholders. Whereas some specific acts of CWB, most notably withdrawal behaviors such as absence and turnover, have been investigated for decades, the emergence of the study of CWB as a broad class of behaviors is a recent development. Unfortunately, the literature on behaviors that can be classified as CWB is broad and disjointed and is in need of better integration. As we will note, there have been several terms used to refer to conceptually distinct but operationally overlapping if not identical constructs that are often studied in isolation from one another. Our goal in this handbook chapter is to provide an integrative overview of the literature that links the various forms of CWB that have been studied in the literature. We will begin with an overview from a historical perspective of the different concepts that can be subsumed under the CWB term. Second, we will discuss measurement issues and how CWB has been studied. Third, we will discuss potential antecedents of CWB that arise from the work environment and the person. Fourth, we will discuss potential consequences of CWB to organizations and stakeholders, including individual employees, groups, and customers/clients. Finally, we will take a look forward and suggest areas that need attention by CWB researchers.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Counterproductive Work Behavior and Withdrawal, in J. L. Farr & N. T. Tippins (Eds.), Handbook of Employee Selection, Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, p. 489-511